It’s fair to say that this season was rather successful…
Which therefore means, mission accomplished…
So how did we do it, and what does this mean for the save?
Well, to answer the first question, we did it with a certain amount of style.
In the end, we finished 6 points clear at the top of the table, having had a couple of stumbles along the way. There was a point just after January where I thought we’d never shake Spezia off. Then, in about March, their first-choice goalkeeper picked up an injury which ruled him out for about six weeks (a news item I celebrated, I’m slightly ashamed to say) after which their form deteriorated.
The most pleasing aspect of this is that I achieved it playing a different style of football from my normal approach, and I’d also taken the bold step of changing a winning formula because I wasn’t happy with how it played. Ultimately, I ditched the 3-1-4-1-1 for a more conventional-looking 3-5-1-1 (or 3-3-2-1-1) if you prefer. You can see the issues I had with the 3-1-4-1-1 in the screenshots below.
These two aren’t from the same move, but as you can see, as attacks progressed the wide midfielders crowded the box and robbed me of my width. My answer was to move them back to WB(a) and the problem was pretty much solved. This gives me better defensive balance too, as we are rarely caught on the break down the flanks any more.
It’s also a source of pride for me that I had a perfectly viable backup formation which I could use as and when necessary. This is the 4-1-4-1 which I have shown briefly in a previous post, but I’m including it below for completeness.
Again, this is a different approach for me in a number of ways – firstly, it is rare for me to develop two distinct tactics to be available simultaneously and secondly, the 4-1-4-1 uses a Defensive mentality, something I’ve avoided in the past. For this, I must thank Cleon and Rashidi. It’s taken the best part of two years since Cleon wrote his first ‘School of the Defensive Arts’ piece for FM14, and I’ve watched a lot of Rashidi’s Torino Diaries series (often in incomprehension) but things must be sinking in. For anybody struggling with tactics, his ‘Make the best tactics’ videos are very helpful.
As for the future of the save, I’m definitely going to continue it. As the club had very little in the way of a youth system, I’m determined to upgrade that until we have a decent conveyor belt of young players appearing. I don’t know whether becoming regular title challengers is a realistic aim, but I would certainly like to think that we could get into Europe and add a couple of Coppa Italia’s to the trophy cabinet.
I probably won’t continue with the annual updates (unless there’s a significant clamour for them). Instead, I think I may focus on specific events or techinques I use. I already have an idea for a squad management post, which I hope will appear before too long….
In the meantime, Forza Messina!